SOCIAL STUDIES

Southeast Asia is about to pass the US in Facebook and Twitter users

In October a live event related to a kooky Filipino soap opera became the most tweeted event in history. The previous record-holder had been the Brazil vs. Germany match at the FIFA World Cup in July 2014. The news probably came as a surprise to many, but as recently released data from the research firm eMarketer shows, Southeast Asians take their social media seriously

Looking at Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, the firm concluded that in 2016, those nations will collectively, for the first time, pass the United States in the number of Facebook and Twitter users—and then pull well ahead in the years to come. (For its forecasts of social network growth, the firm used Facebook and Twitter numbers only.)

Of course, collectively those nations have significantly more people than the US:

But internet penetration is still lower than average in Southeast Asia. In Indonesia only about a third of the population has internet access.

Among those in the region who have internet access, social media penetration is high, especially in the case of Facebook. In fact, some enthusiastic Facebook users in Indonesia have no idea they are on the internet, the social network is so ubiquitous.

In each of the Southeast Asian nations, Facebook penetration is higher among internet users than in the United States, and it will continue to be so in the years ahead, according to eMarketer.

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